Acute Insomnia: Learning The Signs, Causes, Risk Factors, Cure & More!

Last Update on September 29, 2021 : Published on September 29, 2021
Acute Insomnia

Can’t sleep? Even though you had no trouble going to sleep a few weeks ago? Has your quality of sleep declined in the past few months?

Don’t fret! You are not alone. Sleep troubles come and go all the time. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep complaints but did you know that there are different types of insomnia? Yes! Insomnia can be divided into three types, based on their duration and causes:

  • Acute Insomnia or short-term insomnia
  • Transient Insomnia
  • Chronic Insomnia or long-term insomnia

Of the three, we’ll be understanding the symptoms, causes, and cure for acute insomnia in this blog.

Let’s begin by understanding what acute insomnia is and how it differs from chronic and transient insomnia.

What Is Acute Insomnia?

What Is Acute Insomnia

Acute insomnia or short-term insomnia is a type of insomnia that may last for or less than three months. More often than not acute insomnia is present when you’re struggling with stress, changes in work shifts, jet lag, or any other circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

Acute insomnia can also be known as adjustment insomnia and stress-related insomnia.

In a new study, sleep specialists found a link between acute insomnia and COVID-19. So if you’ve been struggling with maintaining healthy sleep habits during the pandemic, you’re not alone.

Sleep problems can manifest in many ways but stress and anxiety take the top. Pandemic-induced stress and anxiety can be a big reason if you’re struggling with sleep and daytime fatigue, according to this research by the Sleep Foundation.

When it comes to transient and chronic insomnia, transient insomnia is when sleep troubles last for less than or a week and can be caused by environmental changes and stress. However, chronic insomnia is when your sleep troubles last longer than three months and can be associated with other mental and psychiatric disorders.

How Do I Know If I Have Acute Insomnia?

Some common symptoms of acute insomnia can be:

  • Disruption in the sleep-wake cycle
  • Waking up during the night
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Reduced motivation
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches

The severity of these symptoms may worsen if not observed early on.

What Are The Common Causes Of Acute Insomnia?

What Are The Common Causes Of Acute Insomnia

There are more than a few possible causes of acute insomnia or short-term insomnia. These causes can range from psychological to social.

Common causes of acute insomnia can be:

  • Changes in your sleep environment such as noise, lighting, temperature, etc
  • Major life changes such as job change, divorce, death, etc
  • Changes in medications, if you’re taking any
  • Consumption of caffeine, nicotine, or sedatives before bed
  • Withdrawal from caffeine, nicotine, or other such stimulants
  • Breathing issues or conditions that cause pain
  • Day-to-day stress including pandemic-induced stress
  • Situational changes such as jet lag, changes in work shifts, etc

It is important to understand the causes of your sleep disturbances as your acute insomnia can turn into chronic insomnia if you don’t pay attention to your symptoms and causes and get the right treatment.

Is There A Diagnosis Criteria For Acute Insomnia?

There are no such acute insomnia tests that can be used to diagnose your insomnia, however, a proper diagnosis of your condition can be made formally by a healthcare provider after a thorough and careful examination.

It is important to get your sleep troubles checked as many co-existing medical, mental health, or psychiatric disorders can disrupt your sleeping habits too.

Also Read: Depression And Insomnia

How Do You Fix Acute Insomnia?

How Do You Fix Acute Insomnia

Before you become anxious about not getting a good night’s rest, let’s take a look at some tips to help you improve your sleep hygiene and get better sleep:

1. Fix Your Sleep Environment

This is an obvious step but the most important. Lighting can affect your circadian rhythm and delay the release of melatonin – the hormone that stimulates sleep. Noise, light, temperature, all affect your circadian rhythm.

To fix this, you can start by reducing noise (white noise machines can help), use blackout curtains, and temperature low (18℃ give or take, is ideal). The idea is to give your mind and body a space that triggers sleep.

2. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Limiting your screen time before bed is another important step when it comes to fixing your sleep issues. Watching TV or scrolling through your phone is mentally stimulating, which may delay the release of melatonin.

Instead of scrolling social media, you can try doing relaxing activities before bed such as reading a book (not an e-book), listening to music, breathing exercises, meditation, or easy yoga.

3. Don’t Force Sleep

If you’re not able to fall asleep, that’s okay. Don’t force sleep. Even lying awake on the bed can trigger wakefulness instead of sleep. The more you keep yourself awake and in bed, the more anxious you’ll be about not getting any sleep.

The more anxious you are, the more trouble you’ll face falling asleep. The cycle goes on. Instead, do something relaxing yet exhausting enough to fall asleep.

4. Maintain A Routine

Routine is important! Our body and mind need to be in sync. Having a routine helps with that. The more irregular your sleep cycle is, the more trouble you’ll face with your sleep schedule. Irregular sleep patterns also delay the release of melatonin.

Here, you can try keeping a regular schedule for your sleep. For example, waking up at the same time every day and going to bed at the same time every night, even during your days off.

5. Seek Professional Help, When Needed

If your sleep troubles or your acute insomnia lasts more than a few weeks, then there is a high risk of it turning into chronic insomnia. Don’t worry, though. There are treatments available for curing acute insomnia.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia and sleep supplements can help. Although, it is recommended that you speak to a professional therapist before taking any sleep supplements.

Writer’s Thoughts

No matter what your causes are, the outcomes of acute insomnia can be serious. Carefully study your symptoms, understand the causes, and get the right diagnosis for getting the right treatment for acute insomnia.

You need to address your problems before they turn into chronic ones. It can be frustrating to deal with any kind of insomnia but remember there is help available.

If the above-mentioned tips don’t help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a sleep specialist or a professional counselor. If you choose to take sleep supplements, please contact a physician before taking any pills. Some supplements may cause severe side effects as well.

If you’d like to reach out to a professional, you can contact us at or DM us on social media for more information. We’re always here to help you!

Found this article helpful? Did this blog help you with understanding what acute insomnia is, its symptoms, and how to fix it? Do you think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below!

Sleep Well! Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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